A tip o' the hat to reader Mickey S., who made me laugh by e-mailing me the following list.
THE SIX LAWS OF ITALIAN CAR OWNERSHIP
As the owner of an Italian vehicle, you have undoubtedly found that, from time to time, the thing defies all known laws of Physics. Distinguished researchers from all over the world have spent entire lives trying to understand such phenomena. Recently, the Six Laws of Italian Sports Cars were discovered, thus reducing most owners' dependency on sorcerers and prayer, to keep such cars running. Careless application of these laws to any individual auto may fix the problems of the moment, but cause hives or allergies in said owners.
1) THE LAW OF PLEASING DESIGN WHERE IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER
"The inside of cam covers or other relatively innocuous areas, shall be laced with buttresses, cross-bracing and all manner of esoteric stiffness-with-lightness design, while something like connecting rods shall self-destruct at red-line plus 1.0 rpm due to a basic lack of strength."
(An example of this Law is the stunningly beautiful Lamborghini or Ferrari V-12's of the late '60's. They were famous for wearing out all four camshafts in 10,000 miles or less. The cam's metal appeared to be recycled coat-hangers, which coincidentally are still in short supply in Italy.)
2) THE LAW OF NON-FUNCTIONAL APPARATUS
"All Italian Sports Cars, regardless of age, shall have at least one system or component which does not work, and cannot be repaired. Such a part shall never be mentioned in the Official Shop Manual, although there may be an out-of-focus picture shown."
(It goes without saying that such parts should never under any circumstances be removed, lest the natural balance of the car be upset.)
3) THE LAW OF ELECTRICAL CHAOS
"All Italian Sports Cars shall be wired at the Factory by a cross-eyed, color-blind worker, using whatever supplies are within reach. All wires shall change color-code at least once between energy source and component. All grounds shall be partially insulated."
(This tends to guarantee that the owner of such vehicles will eventually be intimately familiar with its electrical system, since he will need to trace out each wire, then rewrite his Official Schematic, which will differ from all others in at least one area.)
4) THE LAW OF PERSONAL ABUSE
"The more an Italian auto breaks down, the more endearing it becomes to its increasingly irrational owner."
(For example, you purchase an Italian sports car, paying all the money you ever hoped to earn, and receive a ticket for air pollution on the way home from the dealer due to the vast clouds of smoke that follow you. Several return trips to said dealer, accompanied by your rapidly dwindling cash reserves, cures the smoking: but now the engine sounds like a food processor full of ball-bearings. After replacing every component in the car, including the radio speakers, the noise vanishes - to be replaced by an odor reminiscent of a major fire in a goat-hair mattress factory. You still keep trying, God help you.)
5) THE LAW OF UNAVAILABLE PARTS
"All parts of an Italian sports car shall be made of a material that is available in inverse proportion to its operating half-life."
(Thus, the speedometer hold-down screws are made of grade 8 cold rolled steel, while the valves are of fabricated Unobtanium, made only at midnight by an old man with a pointy hat covered with moons and stars. Such parts will be back-ordered during the design phase of the car, and will remain so forever. Bribes, pleading and threats will be ignored.)
6) THE LAW OF CRYPTIC INSTRUCTIONS
"Any official publications dealing with repair, maintenance or operations of an Italian sports car, shall be written such that every fourth word is incomprehensible to the average American. In the event that a random sentence is understandable, its information shall be wrong."
(This is also known as flat-tire English, where a sentence flows along nicely, then - Kaboom!)